They call me Simon the Pharisee. “Simon” means “hearing.” In accordance with my name, I heard the call of Jesus and became a disciple after He healed me of leprosy. Candidly, the physical disease symbolized the deeper spiritual disease from which Jesus also delivered me. I was guilty of clergy sexual abuse, a practice that fed on my Phariseeism like crustaceans feed on sewage.
Well, not exactly all white. There was Maurice, the black custodian at the local shopping center, who swept the sidewalks singing B.B. King songs. There was Joe Parche, the skinny, high-I.Q. boy who they bussed in from the city in an effort to “integrate” our high school. And there was Estelle, our cleaning lady.
Estelle came into my world surrounded with myth and mystery. My mother had prepared me for her arrival by drawing me aside to [...]
Acronyms develop when something appears so often that it calls for a more efficient name. No need for, “Repondez s’il vous plait.” Just write, “R.S.V.P.” Same with A.M., P.M., B.C., A.D., P.S., ASAP, B.Y.O.B and many more.
I’ve decided to coin an acronym: M.L.D. stands for Major Life Disappointment. I’ve decided it’s long overdue we talk about them, and officialize while taming them a bit, as acronyms tend to do. A case in point: A.D.D. [...]
I received a tortured call one evening. “Horrible things are happening, my life is coming unraveled,” the caller said, spilling out a litany of disasters that tangled financial loss, physical illness, family estrangement, and psychological despair.
“Your addiction is catching up with you,” I said. The dialog between the two of us had been protracted, painful and interspersed with angry telephone clicks when my frankness offended him. Now he wept brokenly.
They are, in order, with lifetime prevalence rates: Anxiety disorders (about 18%), mood disorders (about 10%), and ADHD (about 5%).
It might come as a surprise that anxiety rates higher than depression. Actually, anxiety diagnoses multiply like rabbits in the Diagnostic Manual put out by the American Psychiatric Association. Here are the primary ones: acute stress [...]
It must have been fall when she first heard him sing, because she remembers how his tenor soared among the fiery maple leaves one hundred feet above ground as she sat by her window. It made her breath come in gasps, as if she was doing the singing. She saw him from a distance many times, but they conversed only shyly in small bites, like sparrows pecking at morsels of maybe. Then came the moment he told her he had [...]
I’ve heard that the wise old owls at the American Psychiatric Association who revamp the diagnostic manual every ten years have considered a diagnosis of “perfectionism.” What do you think? So far the owls believe that 301.4, obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD, not to be confused with OCD, [or CDO if you want the letters in alphabetical order]) suffices. OCPD is, “a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, [...]
I don’t do resolutions. I’ve observed two things—that humans have an indefatigable drive to fix themselves, and that it is utterly futile and fruitless. The only good that comes from our self-fixing is that some of us finally learn it’s impossible.
During the Billy Graham era, while the evangelical movement retained the flavor of modernism, the preaching emphasis seemed to my young adult mind to be “getting right” with God. During that time I became a Christian and then a Seventh-day Adventist. Everything felt right. I got right with God, began worshiping on the right day, and believing the right doctrines.*
As the decades rolled along I saw a shift in evangelicalism (my larger religious sphere), which affected Adventism (my smaller religious [...]